FCC Considers Proposal Mandating Carriers Notify Customers before Overages

OKLAHOMA CITY– Citing hundreds of complaints from wireless customers about the shocking totals on their bills from going over their monthly limits on voice minutes, text messages and data usage, the Federal Communications Commission () is considering a proposal that would require carriers to notify customers before they run up excessive charges. Last year, U.S. Cellular was the first to offer a free service to all of its customers that alerts them when they’re approaching their limits.

“We believe that customers shouldn’t be surprised when their bill arrives,” said Nancy Fratzke, director of sales for U.S. Cellular in Oklahoma. “Our customers told us that unexpected charges were one of their biggest concerns, especially those on a tight budget, so we created Overage Protection. Customers deserve to have a wireless carrier that is looking out for them.”

Almost 25 percent of U.S. Cellular’s customers have signed up for Overage Protection since it launched in November. Customers receive a text message when they reach 75 percent of their allotted minutes or text messages, and again when they reach 100 percent.

U.S. Cellular recommends that customers who consistently go over their monthly totals should consider switching to a different plan, such as one with unlimited voice, texts or data. U.S. Cellular customers can switch their monthly plans at any time without extending their contract.

U.S. Cellular has created other industry-leading programs that put the needs of its customers first. With Battery Swap, customers can come into any U.S. Cellular store and exchange a dead or dying battery with a fully-charged one for free. Its My Contacts Backup application, free to all customers, stores their cell phones contacts on a secure website in case the phone is lost or damaged.

“Wireless customers shouldn’t have to rely on the government to fix the flaws in our industry,” Fratzke added. “We’ve always believed that customers should expect more from their carriers.”

Updated 05-24-2010

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